The Berkeley Daily Planet receieved this letter addressed to Councilmember Dona Spring:
Thank you for leading the way to the Berkeley City Council’s action on Afghanistan. It gives me great strength to know that clearer heads can still prevail.
I believe the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce leaves much to be desired.
It still rankles that the chamber rounded up flagrantly-fragrant fragrance industry folks to fight the request of Berkeley citizens, disabled by synthetic scents, asking for fragrance-free accommodation for Berkeley city meetings. (Berkeley reworded the proffered, sensible, kindly- and clearly-stated wording of its Commission on Disability, in favor of obfuscating words developed with the fragrance industry. The industry that is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration!, and which formulates a scent using tens to hundreds of chemicals from its repertoire of 3,000 to 5,000 inadequately or untested chemicals. And our government and health “experts” have the audacity to wonder why rates of asthma and other chronic illnesses soar. But this is another book.)
As far as I’m concerned the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce still stinks ... but now in a different way. To even imagine them going against the Council’s Action on Afghanistan, well, it's mind-boggling. But then to realize they’ve actually gone before the media — which is no longer a news source, but just another series of corporations trying to outsell some other corporation through sensationalism — well, it goes from mind-boggling to numbing to infuriating.
And it proves to me once again, that what President George W. Bush reportedly said at least twice has to be taken with more than just a grain of salt.
“If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.” – George W. Bush, December 18, 2000
“A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.” – George W. Bush, July 26, 2001
It seems to me that the president of the United States has gotten the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce right there in lock-step with him.
And all the while, whether we wish to unite behind him or not, we are still Americans and we are still allowed by law, if not the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, to have and express another view. And that should bring commerce into Berkeley!
The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce certainly did its best to guarantee a drop in business in Berkeley by going to the media as it did, stating that they expected a drop in business, as a result of this 5-4 vote, with it’s Oh, me! Oh, My! whine about being the chamber in Berkeley.
What in the world did they expect the media to do with that? Of course, the media is going to put it out there for the world to see and to join in lockstep with BCC’s predictions. Of course, the media will go into Oakland to find a visitor seeking his five seconds of fame by stating he’d not shop in Berkeley.
Now, had the BBC stated that it was a 5-4 vote stating the Council’s actions are to ...
“Condemn the mass murder of thousands of people on Sept. 11, 2001, and express our profound grief at the atrocities last month that killed thousands of innocent people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, and acknowledge, honor, and support the heroic rescue efforts on the part of dedicated police and fire departments, and the city, state, and federal governments; and “ask our representatives to help break the cycle of violence, bringing the bombing to a conclusion as soon as possible. ...”
And of course the chamber, fully expected the commerce of Berkeley to flourish in such an atmosphere, the results may well have been quite different. In fact, I’ll wager, the vote never would have made it to the news.
George W. Bush has no sense of history for history has shown that war begets war. Reportedly Mr. Bush stated this in the first Presidential debate:
“The reason we start a war is to fight a war, win a war, thereby causing no more war!”
I am proud that Berkeley City Council — even by a squeaky-tight vote — does have a sense of history and has demonstrated a reverence for life around this small planet. And Councilmember Spring, I thank you!